The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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Opinion

March 5, 2012

March 4, 2012 Letters to the Editor: Shari McCaslin

Correct facts please

Everyone has a right to an opinion, but not to alter truths or distort reality in support.  

Representing the teaching community, the Grand Valley Education Association is troubled that as a public forum, The Star Beacon printed a letter that cited incorrect facts and made unfounded statements about the Grand Valley Local School District, its teaching staff and its financial actions.

Education is about children. Every year, approximately 80 teachers prepare the future, teaching skills necessary to function proficiently in an ever-changing society.  They spend their own money to provide supplies, materials and extras while paying a portion of insurance and receiving no salary increases.  Recently, when evaluated by the Ohio Department of Education, Grand Valley was rated effective and excellent, meeting or exceeding specified criteria (see  HYPERLINK "http://ilrc.ode.state.oh.us/" http://ilrc.ode.state.oh.us/).  We also have been designated “School of Promise”, identified as helping all students be high achievers, even when almost 50% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.  Currently, we educate our students at approximately 17% ($1,747) less than the state average [($10,144) versus ($8,397)].  In addition, we have facilities and equipment of which to be proud (and are the envy of other communities), that have also positively impacted our scores and achievement while providing significant financial savings.   

Despite careful planning and due to losses in state and federal funding, Grand Valley requires additional revenue.  It has been twenty years (1992) since the public voted for operating money.  To maintain quality education, the unfortunate choice is to request money or cut programs. We recently have done both and must continue until there is a balanced budget.  Soon, students will have fewer choices as the district with less teachers will only be able to support education at the state minimum standards.

Good schools are essential for prosperous communities. Grand Valley students are achieving in spite of economic problems and disadvantages, thanks to people willing to provide for them.  Unfortunately, school operating levies are one of the few taxes over which the public can exert control.  Instead of opposing levies, we wish that residents would direct their energy and passion to change school funding, to find better ways to provide money for education.  Then, Grand Valley would not have to skimp and scrape to give students the best possible education in preparation for good, constructive lives as productive and contributing citizens. Remember, someone else provided for us to have our educational experience.

Shari McCaslin

President, Grand Valley Education Association

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